Freezing rain forced at two hour delay of the school day, so the kids had time to hang out and relax before leaving the house this morning. As I was making breakfast, nine year old Bob wondered aloud about why the kitchen was so cold. My first reaction was to say that it is always colder in the kitchen and family room, especially in the morning, because that section of the house is an addition and the heat doesn’t reach it as well as it does the rest of the house.
As I headed upstairs to fold some laundry, though, I noticed that it was colder than usual in the rest of the house as well. A quick check of the thermostat revealed a problem. The temperature is set at 69 degrees and the thermostat read 63 degrees. I hurried down to the basement and checked the furnace. It was silent. Not good news. I knew right away that the B$*&%, Mrs. Murphy, was back. I don’t know why she is picking on me.
Horatio was shaking his head in dismay when his image came up on Facetime after he read my email letting him know about the events at home.
I know enough to know that my mom couldn’t help me with this one, so I first called the heating and cooling company with whom we have a service contract. We’ve had a contract with them since 2004, so I knew they’d be quick to help. The gate keeper/receptionist told me that a technician named Marco would be out between 9:00 and 12:00 and, sure enough, he showed up at 9:40.
Meanwhile, I remembered that we have a home warranty that would cover the problem. As the issue is that we had no heat and getting heat back on was top priority, I decided to hear what Marco diagnosed the problem as and go from there. If the problem was a quick fix and not expensive, I’d just let him do it. Otherwise, I’d call the warranty company. On a military salary we always have to watch our expensive closely. So, when Marco told me the problem was a broken power switch that he had to drive an hour to retrieve and the part would cost $316 + labor, in addition to the $40 service call fee to diagnose the problem, I explained the home warranty situation. I told him I’d find out if we could get it fixed through the warranty company, where it would cost me only $75. He understood why I needed to do that. So, he made some notes for me so that I could tell the warranty company exactly what we need, and left in time for me to take the boys, and two of our neighbor’s children, to school.
I got home and immediately went online to fill out the warranty company’s service request form. I will skip the tedious and annoying details of sitting on hold for 45 minutes and talking with a grouchy technician who refused to just get the part and come to fix the problem the other guy found, without first coming to diagnose the problem himself. When he finally did come out, he found the pressure switch to be in perfectly fine condition. He could get the heat to come on numerous times. He replaced the switch nonetheless and now our house is gradually warming up. Total cost, including $40 to the first company and $75 to the second, $115- much better than $400+.
The coldest the house got was in the high 50s in the basement and around 60 in the rest of the house. I have space heaters, used earlier in the week to defrost our frozen pipes, so I was toasty warm most of the day. I kept busy to keep warm and sat in front of the heater when I wasn’t busy.
I didn’t post on facebook about our heat dying, like I did about our pipes. I needed advice about how to fix the pipe problem, but today there was no advice to be sought. It wasn’t a problem I could solve without professional help. Posting on facebook would have brought offers of help, shelter and more, from my great friends. I find it hard to accept help. I like to just get through things on my own. Of course, if it had gotten terribly cold I would have reached out to a friend or taken the kids to a hotel, but it didn’t get that far. For that, I am grateful. I love my friends and know they support me and would be happy to help, but I really hate to take it. I guess I’m stubborn.
All’s well that ends well. I just hope Mrs. Murphy takes her leave now. I really don’t want to see her again any time soon. Horatio won’t be back for four more days, she is not welcome back.